Yester Farm Dairies, a family business based in East Lothian, is expanding and will soon be adding an artisan cheese range to its retail repertoire, thanks to support from Clydesdale Bank.
The funding package is the most recent development of a partnership between Clydesdale Bank and the McCreery family which has lasted more than 20 years.
While Simon and Jackie McCreery’s Yester Farm Dairies has been growing steadily since it opened for business in 2003, the family has been farming for generations and moved to East Lothian in 1992.
Then, Clydesdale Bank helped support Simon’s father David, who still runs the farm with Simon and his brother Spencer, when he bought the farm after he moved to Scotland from Ulster.
Yester Farm Dairies operates alongside the family farm. As soon as milking is finished, milk is piped straight from the milking parlour to the modern pasteurisation plant on-site, where it is packed and distributed to hotels, restaurants and retail shops across Central Scotland.
The most recent support will help Yester Farm Dairies set up a soft cheese processing unit which will allow them to produce traditional style mozzarella and spreadable soft cheeses in addition to cultured creams such as crème fraiche and sour cream.
As well as catering to existing customers across the Lothians and Borders, now the business will be able to grow and distribute to the food service sector across the UK.
Currently, the business employs 18 staff. Within the next year, Simon and Jackie will look to add to increase their workforce by up to five additional employees.
Director Jackie McCreery said: “It is an exciting time. We are really looking forward to getting our food service range off the ground over the next six months or so and then hope to develop an innovative retail range in 2016. The first trial batch is done and we will hopefully get final sign-off from our local environmental health officers shortly and so be able to sell products within the next six weeks.
“We were delighted to have recently been shortlisted as a finalist for Dairy Innovator of the Year at the British Farming Awards and we will continue to try new things. Our new soft cheese processing unit will allow us to offer new products, grow the business and break into new markets not only in Scotland but throughout the UK, and who knows, perhaps even export.“
David Hannon, Clydesdale Bank’s Head of Agribusiness, said: “We are pleased to continue our longstanding support of the McCreery family.
“Having worked with them since 1992 they have continually demonstrated their ambition and innovation. I am sure Yester Farm Dairies’ new products will help the business continue to develop and we look forward to working with them in the years ahead.
“Our specialist knowledge of and focus on different sectors helps to bring a challenge to the market giving small and medium sized business the speed and flexibility they require to fulfil their growth ambitions.”